Senate Dems calls on Apple, Google mobile tracking, warns of risks to privacy of abortion-related information

Senate Dems calls on Apple, Google mobile tracking, warns of risks to privacy of abortion-related information
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Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, Cory Booker and Sarah Jacobs are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google for failing to warn consumers of potential harm. custom tracking identifiers for advertising in mobile operating systems.

“These identifiers have strengthened the unregulated data brokerage market by creating a piece of data associated with a device that data brokers and their clients can use to communicate with other information about consumers,” the lawmakers said. wrote in the letter Friday. “This information is obtained or obtained from software developers and online advertisers, and may include consumer actions and Internet browsing activities.”

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While consumers may refuse to watch, they claim that Apple and Google have “allowed governments and private actors to use ad tracking systems for their own control, and have seriously damaged the privacy of hundreds of millions of Americans.”

“The FTC should investigate the role of Apple and Google in transforming online advertising into an intensive monitoring system that encourages and facilitates the unlimited collection and permanent sale of Americans’ personal information,” the letter said. “These companies have not informed consumers about the privacy and security risks associated with the use of these products. It is not time to put an end to the privacy concerns imposed on consumers by these companies.”


The letter pays special attention to the potential sensitivity of those seeking abortion and other reproductive health services. Supreme Court on Friday Roe v. wade.

“Data brokers sell, license and share the location information of people who visit abortion providers to anyone who already has a credit card,” lawmakers said. “Prosecutors in states where abortion is illegal will soon be able to obtain warrants to find out the whereabouts of anyone who has had an abortion. Private actors will also be encouraged by state reward laws to hunt women who have had an abortion or want to have an abortion. enter.”

A Google spokesman told FOX Business that the company “never sells user data” and that Google Play strictly prohibits the sale of user data by developers.

“The ad identifier is designed to give users more control and a more personal way for developers to effectively monetize their applications,” the technology giant added. “Any claim that an ad identifier was created to facilitate the sale of information is simply false”

In addition to being able to delete your ad ID at any time, Google has introduced the Privacy Sandbox on Android to restrict data sharing with third parties. An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based digital privacy group, advises Internet users who are concerned about abortion information to carefully review the privacy settings on the services they use and turn off location services in applications they don’t need. and use encrypted messaging services.

EFF CEO: “Everyone deserves to have strong control over the collection and use of information they should leave behind in their normal activities such as using software, search engine queries, social media sharing, sending messages to friends, etc.” Cindy Cohn and CEO Corynne McSherry made a statement. “But those who want, offer, or facilitate access to abortion should now consider that any information they provide online or offline can be searched by law enforcement.”

It also suggests that companies should protect users by allowing anonymous access, stopping behavior tracking, strengthening data deletion policies, offering end-to-end and transit encryption, preventing spy tracking, and ensuring that users are aware of their data when searching.

In addition, the organization urges state and federal politicians to adopt meaningful privacy laws.


There are so-called at least 13 states in the country “trigger laws” immediately or Roe v. Wade turns.

According to the Guttmacher Institute for Abortion Rights Research, the states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. law in April.

There are also five additional states – Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin – where Roe v. Wade will come into force after the repeal of the historic 1973 law.

Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to the report

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